READ: Luke 11:37-54
THINK: Are you serving God inwardly as well as outwardly? Think about your church involvement. Consider the image you've tried to convey to others regarding your Christianity. Is what they see an accurate reflection of what's going on inside? That's not to say you can't be facing struggles, doubts or painful issues. But are you trying to fake like you're not. If so, don't give up. Confess your hypocrisy to God and let Him help you change--from the inside out.
RESPOND: What does Jesus mean that some people clean the outside of things but the inside is "full of greed and wickedness" (v. 39)? In what ways can people appear to be spiritually clean, even though they may not be? What do you think Jesus means when He talks about giving what's inside the dish to the poor (v. 41)? Is Jesus saying that the Pharisees should not worry about giving God a tenth of what they have, but should only be concerned with love and justice toward others? Why or why not? (See 11:42 note). Why is it important to do both--to give God His due and to demonstrate true compassion for others? Even though God's law is good and His commands and principles still apply, how can focusing only on the law keep people from finding spiritual knowledge and entering God's Kingdom? How would you have felt if you were a teacher of the law in Jesus' time? Would you have taken His challenge to heart, or would you have been insulted and resented Jesus like the others?
PRAY: Ask God to keep your heart sincere toward Him so that you can be spiritually pure, inside and out. Pray that you will never resist or resent the tough challenges you come across in God's Word. Instead, ask for the wisdom and diligence to obey God without hesitating or complaining.
ACT: Consider the challenge from the "THINK" section above. If there is any way in which you've tended your outward image and neglected your inner spirit, or if you have allowed spiritual impurity or insincerity to remain in your life, ask God to forgive you. Then, make some changes, obey God and allow Him to keep you clean, inside and out.
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